Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee

AG 1 / DFG-FG 1939

Department of English and Linguistics
American Studies
Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
Jakob-Welder-Weg 18
55099 Mainz

Tel: +49 6131 39-22711
Fax: +49 6131 39-22480

SoCuM Project: Indian Gaming: Indian Casinos between Rights and Representation
(Within the framework of AG 3, in cooperation with Michael Bachmann, Dieter Dörr, Anton Escher, Franz Rothlauf und Elke Wagner)

With the presence of Indian Casinos, a fundamental change in Indian American relations seems to be emerging. For the first time since their colonization by settler societies, the Indian Nations have had the resources to cultivate their own image. The principle reason behind this is the casinos themselves, where, due to their specific legal status within the USA, the Indian Nations enjoy sovereign control. In terms of law and representation, these casinos present an ambiguous locus:
Firstly, as actual places, casinos can become the scene of economic profit or loss. Secondly, casinos become ‘real’ stages for cultural performances, like Powwows – and they also become stages in a metaphorical sense, inasmuch as they themselves stage Native American identity and, in specific ways, give space to the performance of actors. Thirdly, casinos also become represented spaces: they show up in artistic, legal, journalistic, and academic discourses and they appear in media formats from books to the internet.

The triadic entanglement of ’Indian casinos’ as real place, locus of representation and represented space will be the subject of a new research unit, where disciplines such as American Studies, Theatre Studies, Cultural Geography, Jurisprudence, Economics and Media Sociology are brought together.

Research Interests
American Renaissance, Naturalism, Ethnic American Literature, Indigenous Studies, Life Writing, Critical Race Theory, Whiteness Studies, South Asian Diasporic Film and Bollywood Cinema

Academic Background

Mita Banerjee has been Professor of American Studies at Mainz University since 2010 and will be Gutenberg Research Fellow until 2015. She was previously Professor of North American Cultural Studies at the University of Siegen with an emphasis on Literature. From 2000 to 2002 she worked at the UC Berkeley as an Emmy Noether Scholarship Research Fellow. She was teacher and member of staff in the English Department at Mainz University. In 2003, she obtained her university lecturing qualification and in 1999 her PhD at Mainz University. In 1996, she completed her Master’s Degree in American Studies, English Studies and Slavic Philology (Russian) at the University of Mainz.

Publications (Top 5)

Color Me White: Naturalism/Naturalization in American Literature. Heidelberg: Winter.
Roots Trips and Virtual Ethnicity: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated. In: Udo Hebel (ed.): Transnational American Memories. Berlin: DeGruyter.
Ethnic Ventriloquism: Literary Minstrelsy in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Heidelberg: Winter.
Race-ing the Century. Heidelberg: Winter.
The Chutneyfication of History: Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje, Bharati Mukherjee and the Postcolonial Debate. Heidelberg: Winter.